Humble Beginnings

Franklin Pichardo began his lifelong career as a cigar professional by learning at the hands of industry giants. At the age of 16, as yet unaware of his hidden talent, Pichardo was making a living washing cars in Santiago. He didn’t know the first thing about tobacco – until a dear friend changed his life forever. “a very good friend of mine, Andres Belliard, said to me one day, ‘hey young man, do you want to start rolling cigars?’” Pichardo said. “i told him, ‘sure, nothing is impossible. Let’s try.’ so i did.”That was 1995. Today Pichardo celebrates 21 years in the cigar industry, including the first 15 with Arturo Fuente as an Opus X Roller (tabaquero).

The Arturo Fuente Opus X Cigar is one of the most highly regarded cigars in the world. It is the benchmark for which many cigar companies use to measure excellence, and Pichardo was one of the chosen few who had the opportunity to roll the majesty of the industry.

The experience

Pichardo made one particular cigar throughout his entire tenure with Arturo Fuente cigars – the Opus X perfexcion #2. “from the beginning to my last day there, i can say they gave me the opportunity to learn and only make Opus X perfexcion #2,” pichardo pointed out. The perfecxion #2 is an impeccably crafted cigar that is absolutely stunning. It is a 6 3/8 x 52-ring pyramid vitola. It is a highly sought after cigar that has earned numerous accolades and high ratings since its 1995 debut.the Opus X Cigars is a ‘special cigar that requires special attention.’ the blend is a top secret recipe of more than seven different tobaccos shrouded in an extremely delicate, ultra-rare Dominican wrapper leaf grown exclusively on the Fuente Farm. In fact, 75% of all the tobacco grown on the Fuente Farm is reserved for the Opus X Cigars.


Franklin pichardo owns and operates his own cigar lounge, tó makao fine cigars, in bethlehem, pennsylvania. They regularly stock a large selection of opus x, anejo and other hard-to-find fuente cigars. He also hosts events where he rolls one-of-a-kind artisan cigars personalized for each guest in attendance. “it feels like there is a piece of fuente in my shop,” expressed pichardo. “i have to thank the fuente family for the great opportunity that i have with my shop. All that i am right now is because i come from there.”

Warning: Cigar smoking can cause cancers of the mouth and throat, even if you do not inhale.

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